Julia Hernandez

Julia Hernandez

Research Assistant


Julia Hernandez



2008 B.S. Madonna University


1994 M.A. Wayne State University (Spanish)


The mother of an adult son who was born with congenital toxoplasmosis; this disease caused my son to have a Developmental Disability, including cognitive, neurological and physical limitations. I have been working in the disability field with families of children with disabilities for almost twenty three years. Currently I am working on two programs that assist minority families who need assistance in learning the special education process. The first program; Supporting Educational Achievement for Minorities, is through the Developmental Disabilities Institute out of WayneStateUniversity. The second program is a subcontract through the Developmental Disabilities Institute for Michigan Alliance for Families, which is Michigan’s Parent Training and Information Center (PTI), where I provide services to MAF’s Spanish speaking population either directly or indirectly providing translation and interpretation. All of the families in these programs have children with disabilities, most of whom reside in the area of Southwest Detroit, and primarily speak Spanish. One of my personal goals is to break through some of the stigmas in the community that limit the life of people with disabilities and stops them from becoming independent, as well as to help build the skills parents need in order to work with their children so that they may have a greater chance of succeeding in school and in life in general.


 Research Support: 

Supporting Educational Achievement for Minorities-SEAM

Project Director, Funded by the Developmental Disabilities Council from May 2009 to 2012

The SEAM Project has three focuses:

  • The first one is to provide training and technical support to minority families living in Southwest Detroit who have children with developmental disabilities. The regular topics discussed in these meetings are special education law and parental rights. This part of the project is educationally based.
  • The second focus is to provide additional resources and information for parents, this information will help families to learn and become better able to advocate for their children. The topics can be outside of education or in some cases that deal with education but the information is different to the regularly scheduled topics. SEAM also organizes summer activities for families of children with disabilities, as for example; play groups, community gardening, trainings in the park on special education and a yearly picnic.
  • The third focus is to mentor a group of families that will be able to provide support to other families.

Detroit 360° 2005 to 2009, Developmental Disabilities Institute

As a Parent Navigator with the Detroit 360° Project, I was in charge of working directly with families providiing information and referral as well as direct one on one advocacy skill building and mentoring support, for families that reside in Wayne County. I worked with both English speaking and Spanish speaking families of children with disabilities. 

Professional Memberships & Honors

Professional Memberships: 

Board Member for United Cerebral Palsy of Metropolitan Detroit, 2011-present

Committee Member for the Multicultural Committee (MCC) of Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD), 2014-present


Diversity Outreach Award, Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council, 2009